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TEST YOUR CHILD’S ABILITY TO READ

AT HOME AND SCHOOL, HERE'S A 5-MINUTE WAY TO
EVALUATE HOW WELL YOUR KIDS ARE SUCCEEDING
WITH READING AND MATH

– Grades K through Adult –

They must succeed

ADULTS, PARENTS AND TEACHERS – PLEASE REFRAIN FROM GIVING ANY HELPFUL HINTS OR SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT DURING THESE EVALUATIONS. THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF TIME FOR ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTION LATER.

THIS QUICK EVALUATION TESTS SKILL-LEVEL, NOT ABILITY
ABILITY SKYROCKETS AS SKILLS SKYROCKET


Step 1: The San Diego Quick Reading Assessment – Time to administer, 5 minutes

To verify your child’s ability to read use The San Diego Quick Reading Assessment. Print out the pages and follow the instructions. Cut apart the word lists on pages 2-3 for easy use and in order not to intimidate students with grade level.

Step 2: Access Oral Reading Fluency – Time to administer, 5 minutes

To verify your child’s ability to read aloud ask your child’s teacher for a grade-level text. Set a timer for one minute (microwave timers work very well). Start at a specific point in the text and have your child read aloud for one full minute. Make a tally mark (hashmark) on a separate sheet of paper for any words that are read incorrectly or fumbled (do not interrupt); note where the student stopped reading when the timer goes off. Count all the words from the start to the end point of the section read and subtract the incorrect words. The number you end up with is your child's Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) rate. Learning to read orally (prosody) is a skill emphasized at Brainsarefun. It does wonders for retention and engagement since it requires verbalization in collaboration with 5-5-5s (the world's greatest study skill).

Recommended reading rates, according to the New England Common Assessment Program (2004) are:

First grade: 60-80 correct words per minutes with 0-2 errors

Second grade: 80-100 correct words per minute with 0-2 errors

Third grade: 90-120 correct words per minute with 0-2 errors

Fourth grade: 115-140 correct words per minute with 0-2 errors

Fifth grade: 125-150 correct words per minute with 0-2 errors

Sixth grade: 135-160 correct words per minute with 0-2 errors

Seventh grade: 140-175 correct words per minute with 0-2 errors

Eighth grade: 150-180 correct words per minute with 0-2 errors Grades

Ninth grade – Adult: 180-200 correct words per minute with 0-2 errors

Step 3: Comprehension, 5 minutes

Once you have obtained a child’s Oral Reading Speed ask him/her to tell you one thing about what was read. If you observe poor comprehension you may have chosen a book that’s not appropriate for your child's skill level level. You can test for this by reading another section of the book aloud and seeing if your child is able to understand what you are reading. Remind the child that the answers to the questions you will be asking are all found in the material you are about to read. Help the child find the answers and reward success with eye contact and a smile.

Confirm with your child’s teacher that the material you are using contains age-appropriate vocabulary and story development. By moving up-or-down a list of age-appropriate material you will be able to quickly grasp a child’s ability to comprehend what is being read quite accurately. Make sure that you instruct the child that all the information he/she will need is in the material being read. I can't tell you how often I've learned of students who have failed to make this link. They often have never been told that the questions you're asking are related to the material just presented.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ABOUT MEANINGFUL EVALUATION

Reading Assessment Tests ARE NOT "intelligence tests." They are not designed to measure intelligence or "ability," but "skill-level" only. Almost without exception, children who can not read or succeed academically have plenty of brains. They haven't yet been taught the skills. Once they succeed with reading, math and study-skills, "ability and intelligence" go way up.

The problem is, there's a whole-bunch-of-kids who need success with reading, math and study-skills. They will have a very tough time finding jobs with a future. Too many have never really succeeded with reading and math and have been embarrassed by failure. Many begin to think of themselves as "stupid," or "special," but all the evidence denies it. Most kids are plenty smart.

Lack of brains is rarely the problem. Failure to succeed with reading, math and study skills is almost always the problem. I firmly believe what Zig Engelmann, the father of Direct Instruction, who says, “If the student hasn’t learned, the teacher hasn’t taught."

THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL EVALUATION IS OBSERVATION AND RECORDING

Effective evaluation knows what to look for. It knows the significance of what it sees and knows how to respond so all kids can succeed. The next time you find yourself evaluating teachers, kids or classrooms you might want to take a copy of the Brainsarefun Teacher Evaluation with you. It's very simple and provides a great basis for effective training.

Record the results of your evaluations in your notes. Thank the child and tell him or her that this will give you excellent information about where to start additional reading instruction. Graphing results from these assessments over a 5 week period provides enormous insight about student progress.

By learning these classic assessment tools, and diligently recording the outcomes, you will determine, rather accurately and quickly, a student’s reading proficiency. In addition, you will be able to track improvement and build on strengths.

Thanks for all you do to help kids succeed with reading, math and study skills.

It really does save academic lives.

Rory Donaldson

Success with Reading, Math and Study-Skills Teacher
What makes him so smart?
rory@brainsarefun.com
860-304-3178